What | Pop-Kultur Festival
When | August 23-25
Where | Kulturbrauerei
Starting in just 2015, Pop-Kultur Festival has since become one of the leading cultural events of the year in our Hauptstadt. Their multi-media concept has brought together tons of live music sets, and a smattering of film showings, readings, and talks all dealing with pop culture and music. It’s a nomadic festival that finds a new home each year, and this time around they’ve chosen to set up in pretty P’berg (don’t worry, this doesn’t mean they’re settling down like the rest).
There’s a lot going on during the three festival days, so we’ve done you a solid and singled out our top two picks for each day. Enjoy…
20:40 @ Palais
For fans of: Rokia Traouré, M.I.A,
You can’t get more multikulti than Riff Cohen. The Israeli-born musician has Algerian, French, and Tunisian heritage, and doesn’t hesitate in making that immediately apparent as she sings in all associated languages. Her sound pulls heavily from the North African–namely Malian–traditions, with its bluesy guitar riffs and danceable rhythm sections, but also incorporates elements of Western rock and Middle Eastern melodies. During a prolonged stint in Paris she created the debut album, A Paris, that catapulted her to European fame in 2012. All this being said, Cohen is sure to keep things interesting.
/ / / / /
Aussie wunderkind Alex Cameron may not have the power to charm all through home speakers, but once you see him perform live his stories about random outcasts, accompanied by his sidekick, saxophone player Roy Molloy, he will stay in your heart forever. After his self-release of Jumping the Shark back in 2013, and Secretly Canadian’s subsequent re-release of the album last year, Cameron has been building up quite a dedicated cult following. With a new album–Forced Witness–due out later this year, you can expect some previously unheard hits at his Pop-Kultur set; rest assured, however, that he will still boogie his way through those not-so-old classics that helped him rise to indie stardom.
Let’s Eat Grandma
22:00 @ Maschinenhaus
For fans of: Pumarosa, Girl Ray, Kate Bush
One could certainly argue whether the teenage art-pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma might or might not have missed a comma in their band name, but what can’t be argued is that this same band released one of the most fascinating British debut albums of 2016, I, Gemini. So if you’ve ever found yourself wondering what it would sound like if Kate Bush were a Tegan & Sara fan girl obsessed with folksy trap music, then look no further than these childhood girlfriends.
/ / / / /
Scottish composer Anna Meredith has definitely done her part to make her music virtually unclassifiable: one minute you’re listening to a harmless dance-pop tune, the next you’re thrust into an extended instrumental interlude with influences ranging from hard rock to 20th century classical, all presented with incredible tension and intensity. If this doesn’t sound enjoyable, think again. It might take you a little while to overcome the experimental quality of her long-awaited 2016 debut Varmints, but once you’re in, she’s got you. The fact that Meredith’s music is so extra should make for a thrilling live show.
19:40 @ Maschinenhaus
For fans of: Merchandise, Future Islands, OMD
What do you get when a couple of Turkish punks decide to try their hand at pop? Answer: Jakuzi. While their music takes forays into other sonic territories (see: shoegaze-esque album intro, occasional chillwave feel), much of it is synthpop pure, and brilliantly so. Despite the cheese that can come along with disco bass lines and funky guitars, the Istanbul-based duo manage to pull it all off with an easy sophistication. These guys are also pretty talented songwriters, crafting catchy melodies on every one of the 11 songs on their debut LP Fantezi Müzik. So don’t be alarmed if you leave their gig humming some new favorite Turkish earworms.
/ / / / /
With each album since she debuted back in 2011, Noveller‘s Sarah Lipstate has been giving her echoey, reverb-drenched guitar more and more space in the spotlight of her ambient soundscapes, and the music is all the better for it. If you’re at all a fan of what Manchester legend Vini Reilly did with effects-driven guitars and synthesizers in his outfit The Durutti Column back in the 80’s, you’re in for a treat when Noveller enters the stage at Kulturbrauerei.